Sunday, 28 February 2016

More patching

The last couple of weeks have involved several trips out patching; nothing spectacular, but the redhead Smew continue to grace Ferry Lane Lake (normally 2, but 3 today). A Stonechat there last Monday was a useful Patchwork Challenge addition, as were two Whooper Swans, given their scarcity this winter. The latter were actually on the other side of the Trent at Carlton-on-Trent, but just visible from on patch. A female Marsh Harrier which cruised high north over Mons Pool this morning was another one it was good to get under the belt early on. All this puts me on 94 species / 104 points, my best start to a Patchwork Challenge year so far...

Outstanding species at this point are Ringed Plover and Black-tailed Godwit (both seen by others at Collingham), as well as Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Grey Wagtail, Merlin, Water Rail, Feral Pigeon, and Green Woodpecker; I haven't seen a Green Wood at Collingham/Besthorpe for months and months... Oh, and Tawny Owl (my patch nemesis). 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A Great little trip out

I had 50 minutes spare whilst in Wellow this morning, and decided to head into Sherwood for some quick birding. I'd already decided that either Budby Pumping Station Flash or Welbeck Lake would be my destination, but didn't make my mind up on which until I got to the double roundabouts at Budby; Welbeck it was, in the hope of a Mandarin or two.

This proved to be the correct decision. Having pulled up at the lay-by with the feeders, I began scanning, and there by the side of the lake with the Grey Herons was a Great White Egret. Fantastic! No Mandarins though, perhaps not helped by the low water levels. 

A GWE had been seen at Welbeck back on 15th of January, with presumably the same bird on 1st and 2nd in Clumber Park. I think one was seen in South Yorkshire after the Welbeck sighting, and of course one was seen at Kilvington on 4th Feb and then at Langford Lowfields on 4th and 5th Feb. Is this just the one bird touring around?

Saturday, 13 February 2016

A rubbish time at the tip

I hate that my gulling sessions are largely restricted to weekends; a visit to Cotham Landfill this morning was fairly typical for a Saturday, with few gulls on the tip and others loafing out of sight. Some interest came in the form of what was probably 3W Caspian Gull, but it was on view too briefly to confirm, and didn't reappear.

So off to the patch it was; after a brief visit on Thursday night (my first after-work visit of the year) where I added Little Grebe to my Patchwork Challenge yearlist, I added two more species today - Lesser Black-backed Gull and Oystercatcher. The latter was a hint at Spring, as was a Skylark singing briefly. The only other species of note was a redhead Smew on Ferry Lane Lake. After failing to get this species at Collingham in the last 3 years, I've now seen two (or the same one twice) this year... 

Finally, a spin round Girton proved that the Great Northern Diver was still present, on the A1133 Pit. No wild swans though; there were lost of Mutes moving around today, and several flooded areas held birds, but there were no Whoopers anywhere to be found. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A gull but no grebe

After a fairly birdless session out yesterday (windy...), most of today was spend doing scrub clearance on the disused railway at Alverton; a quick look at Kilvington Lakes beforehand didn't yield much, but as we finished, I noticed that a Black-necked Grebe had been seen there a short while previously. There was no sign of it when me and Graham G had a quick look, although it could've been hidden behind the spit. However, a pair of Goosander were present, as was a nice 1W Yellow-legged Gull, which then flew off west. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Friday fun

A flexi-friday meant a day's birding around Newark; I spent a good 3 hours at Cotham Landfill this morning, before eventually getting too cold, but not before having bagged the juv Glaucous Gull and 2 Caspian Gulls - an adult and a 1st winter. The latter was recognisable by 2 missing feathers from the middle of the primaries. 2 adult Lesser Black-backs were the only other gulls of note.

Juv Glauc
1st W Caspo

On to Collingham, where I bagged two patch yearticks; first the Little Owl, back in its usual willow after a long period of absence, and better still, a Red Kite drifting west as I pulled up at Mons Pool, which headed over the Trent and onwards. This was a species which I didn't manage to get at Collingham last year, so nice to get this one under the belt early on in 2016. 
Little Owl
Red Kite - a bit distant by the time I was ready to take its picture...